Attending our national conference I was dismayed to hear that you still find yourselves vulnerable to potential prosecution whilst engaged in response or pursuit drives.
A campaign led by a member of the Interim National Board is underway to get legislation changed, to ensure that officers who engage in pursuit and response drives can be afforded better protection.
What needs to change, and why?
The current legislation leaves police drivers vulnerable: it is illegal to engage in pursuit or response drives. This is because there are no exemptions in the current legislation that take into account the high level of specialised training officers are given. All driving standards are measured against that of a “competent and careful driver”.
According to the law, ‘dangerous driving’ includes speeding, ignoring traffics signals, or overtaking dangerously. There can also be liability for causing others to drive dangerously.
Officers who have engaged in pursuits or response drivers have, in the past, been charged with dangerous driving, even if no complaints were made, and no one was injured (the outcome is not the matter that should be considered although it almost always is the catalyst).
Police drivers are trained to the College of Policing standard. However this standard is not supported by the current law.
What we are doing about it?
The Police Federation is working to have this changed, and wants appropriate legislative change that reflects the high standard to which Police Officers are trained to be taken into consideration.
Since 2012, work done by the Police Federation of England and Wales helped lead to the Crown Prosecution Service creating the Crown Prosecutors Guidance.
Work continues to bring about a change in legislation to protect officers.
What should you do?
You have a sworn duty to uphold the law and should drive in a way which is lawful and does not contravene the laws of dangerous or careless driving.
You are advised not to undertake any manoeuvre which may well fall outside the standard of the careful and competent non-police driver.
Further advice can be sought via email@example.com or your local representative.